Back of Napkin: A podcast of podcasts
As TV and radio ratings take a nose dive, brands are looking elsewhere to reach customers. Will this habit-forming, emerging media territory be the solution for marketers looking to grab the attention of a diverse, young, and affluent audience? We'll chat with Deborah Clark, senior vice president and general manager of Marketplace – creators of some of the most listened-to audio programming in the country – to get answers.
(Add mentions: Marketplace, Deborah Clark, Steve Jobs, Apple, Mastercard, Casper, etc.)
Podcast Interview Notes:
Flashback to 2005.
Steve Jobs announces, “Apple is taking podcasting mainstream” and declares it will be “the next generation of radio.”
What was your initial reaction?
Deborah, feel free to have fun with this. I think my response would be, “Whatever! Who's going to go to the trouble to download radio programs?!”
<< B.O.N. ANNCR INTRO >>
PETERSON LIVE INTRO:
I'm your host Candace Peterson, Global MD of Brand Marketing at Fleishman Hillard. Welcome to today's podcast… about, well, podcasts… where we'll be taking a closer look at podcasting and the opportunities it presents to brands.
Let's get started with a few stats from a study by Edison Research. According to the study:
• A quarter of Americans listen to podcasts.
• Of these people, they tend to listen to five podcasts per week on average.
• Podcast penetration is strongest among the highly coveted 18-34 demo.
• And, a surprising 85% of people who listen to podcasts, listen to the very end.
As popularity grows, we're seeing behemoth brands like Google, Pepsi and Starbucks plugging in to capitalize on the emerging ad format. Why is this?
How do podcasts add value to a brand's positioning and values?
Does audio storytelling differ from other mediums?
And, what value does it provide brands that other formats can't or don't?
These are just a few of the questions we'll be asking Deborah Clark, senior vice president and general manager of Marketplace – creators of some of the most-listened-to audio programming in the country with an impressive 14.6 Million weekly listeners.
Welcome Deborah and thank you for hosting us at the Marketplace LA studios.
Deborah, with Marketplace you've been at the front lines of spearheading a transformation in the audio space. Tell me a bit about your experience and how you found yourself in your current role?
CLARK: It would be great if you could weave in how you've successfully gone from a suite of independent radio shows about business and the economy into a modern media brand whose primary channel is a podcast.
In terms of modern media brands, if I'm a CMO or brand marketer, what do I need to know about how podcasting is changing the landscape of media outlets? Especially ones that are audio first like yours?
CLARK: It would be wonderful if as part of your answer you could hit on how podcasts attract a unique audience that is highly valuable to brands. And how podcasts provide great opportunities for brands looking to reach a young, diverse, affluent and highly engaged audience – which I imagine is the case for Marketplace.
Might also be a nice place to discuss how you are meeting this consumer demand with a diverse staff of very strong female leadership (all editorial executives and producers of your shows are women) and how your staff reflects the changing landscape.
In addition to the evolving landscape of media outlets, it's been interesting to watch the evolution taking place with monetization of podcasting and how brands are beginning to use it as a legitimate ad channel. Tell us a bit about how you have been able to capitalize on this trend and monetize podcasts?
CLARK: Can you speak to how the advertising/underwriting is different for Marketplace podcasts versus your broadcast content? Maybe tips a CMO would find helpful in planning for ad buys?
Ok. Shifting gears a bit to talk a little bit about storytelling. There's a bit of a debate these days about what storytelling format reigns supreme: Short or Long Form? I find it interesting that two of the fastest growing formats are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. We see brands toying with both -- on one side we have 3 second gifs. On the other, we have podcasts which are about 45 minutes. With such a divide, what in your opinion makes longer format content special?
CLARK: Perhaps talk about how it differs from other mediums? Why is it special? The hosts? The stories? Is it different from how you've always told stories?
Do you think the longer format provide brands with value that other formats don't or can't provide?
CLARK: Maybe speak to how the longer format adds value to a brand's positioning and values
Let's stay with brands for a moment. Are there any brands that you follow closely in the audio space? Is anyone doing something really different?
CLARK: Would be great to hear some of your favorite media organizations/podcasts and what makes them stand out.
When I think about brands who are using podcasts well, it's the ones that use them to support the brand's positioning and storytelling. The first real stand out for me was Casper's mattresses ‘In Your Dreams' podcast that helped people interpret their dreams. And, of course the current series, ‘Fortune Favors the Bold' about the unique and changing role money plays in our lives being done by Mastercard.
In your opinion, what do you think makes a great podcast and who is doing it best?
Okay, last question. What impact has the explosion of AI and voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Alexa or Google Home had on your business? Any opportunities or watch outs you would flag for brands and marketers wanting to play in this space?
CLARK: Talk a bit about launching Marketplace's Alexa skill and why creating content for that device was important for accomplishing your goal of being a modern media brand with the goal of increasing the economic intelligence of all Americans. Doing your best to make artificial intelligence actually intelligent
Deborah, thank you! I really enjoyed having you on this rather ‘meta' Back of Napkin podcast about podcasts. And as radio and TV ratings continue to shrink, it will be fun to watch what brands and marketers do with this emerging media territory. That's it for now. Be sure to check out the episode notes for links mentioned in today's episode. Thanks for listening.
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